that stuff that dreamed. my generation had one of the highest high school graduation rates and college enrollment rates. we were at the cusp of technology. the apex of video games (Atari) and cable television. I remember when “God Bless America” played on the television channel before the network would turn off for the night. I’m from that old school learning of patience and manners being taught by everyone. I remember the bad kids being “paddled” in the principal’s office. I remember how long it took to dial a phone number on a rotary phone. (especially if they had 9’s or 0’s in their number!)
I come from that good stuff of after school programs and free summer programs at the local boys club or ymca. I come from organized marching drill teams and family reunions every year. I come from a grandmamma that got on her knees every night to pray. a family that knew how to hunt and fish for food.
I come from being nurtured to dream. a schooling with arts integration. that culminated in my generation being so inspired and viciously ambitious. we were provided an outlet to create, imagine and dream.
not so much for our kids now. they call them the “microwave kids”. they don’t have to go to the library. they don’t even have to go outside to play or talk with one another. they can do everything via internet and online gaming. now the arts are a privilege for those that can afford it. and that is the impression most have.
the impression is dancers come from wealthy families that can afford for them to train for years. and writers were all left family trust funds so they can sit around and stare out of windows while they write best sellers. the impression is theatre actors are funded by their wealthy family members that sit on the board of trustees for the winter and spring programming. art is viewed as unattainable. the absence of art has our children where they are today.
they are at a lose for individuality. they are born in a box of selections for a career. collectively our communities have shun anything outside of our “safe boxes”. the boxes created to keep us from being murdered or kidnapped or lynched. yes, we still battle that psychological warfare. my dreams were “I could be anything I wanted” and I was presented various platforms to fail and succeed. now our children are told, “you can be anything you want but..” and they aren’t given a safe place to test it out. after so many failures accompanied by laughs and “I told you so’s” from their peers, it is easier for them to stop. and to save their esteem we allow it.
arts is integrated in all studies at school. I believe it is strategic that it has been removed from public schooling and community centers. too many close calls of that next generation connecting their oneness inside of themselves. what if our children figured that out? they would become genius and critical thinkers and seek to remedy all their ills. they would then be from that good stuff like I come from.
God help us. Ancestors guide.